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The Presidential Field Looks to Be (Almost) Set

There was a time, many generations ago, that presidential elections did not get underway until spring (or, sometimes, early summer) of the year in which the election would be held. Those days are long gone, of course. With the RNC candidates' debates commencing in August, not to mention the need to raise vast piles of money, and to personally speak to every voter in Iowa and New Hampshire at least three times, an aspiring 2024 candidate simply must be in by the time summer 2023 dawns. And actually, it looks like the dust is going to settle this week, with a couple of weeks to spare before the season turns.

To start, Mike Pence made it official yesterday, filing the paperwork that makes him a presidential candidate. As is the custom these days, he's been teasing a run for months, someone "leaked" last week that Pence would be announcing this week, Pence filed paperwork yesterday, and he's going to make an official announcement tomorrow in Des Moines, followed by a CNN town hall. Feel free to choose any of those days as the day he became a bona fide presidential candidate.

That said, "bona fide" is really a little bit strong. Of all the people who are running for president as a Republican, and who do not live in Florida, Pence may well be the most delusional. His chances are probably better than, say, Larry Elder's, but Elder does not actually think he's going to get elected. Pence, by contrast, thinks he's got a chance at this thing. Trust us, he doesn't.

The former VP's lane, such as it is, is the "evangelical" lane. But, with apologies to The Godfather, the evangelicals don't even have that kind of muscle anymore (more below). Maybe they never did; the only legitimately evangelical Republican elected in the last century is George W. Bush, and he: (1) claimed the presidency in a dubious election he probably didn't actually win, and (2) managed to build a coalition that included evangelicals and several other right-wing interest groups, most obviously the business types. Pence has no appeal beyond the ever-shrinking evangelical base, and it's not clear he can even lock up large numbers of those votes. There are other candidates in the evangelical lane, most obviously Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), and beyond that, that segment of the voting populace has made clear that they prioritize policy wins over ideological purity.

Beyond the liabilities that any "evangelicals are my base" candidate has these days, Pence also has additional problems special to him that will weigh down his candidacy. A lot of Trumpers hate him, of course, because he didn't try to throw the 2020 election. The former VP also has zero charisma; next to him, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) looks like Bill Clinton. Finally, as governor of Indiana, Pence built a substantive anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ record. That might play well with a Republican primary electorate, if not for all the other liabilities, but it won't play with the general electorate.

Finally, there's no "what's he really doing?" angle to Pence's campaign. He's not angling for the VP slot, since he's already been there, done that. He's not trying to land a gig on Fox or to sell books; again, as a former VP, he's got those things covered. There's also no point running in 2024 in order to set up a 2028 campaign. If Pence's eye is really on the next cycle, he's far better off sitting this cycle out, and letting some of the anger from 2020 subside. No, for the former VP, it's the White House or bust. And again, it's going to be "bust."

Moving along, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie is going to file his paperwork and announce today. We are very skeptical that someone who is upwardly ambitious as Christie is simply "taking one for the team." Still, whether he's just here to take down Donald Trump (as he claims) or he actually has presidential aspirations, he's going to come out punching at the debates and on the campaign trail. He may not get a shot at Trump on the debate stage, though Christie's presence surely increases the odds that the former president will take a pass. But even if there's no Christie-Trump showdown at the debates, there's still the Sunday morning news shows, and the various cable outlets, and so forth. It should be interesting.

Yet another candidate, Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND), is going to file and announce tomorrow. His candidacy brings to mind two Democrats from the 2020 cycle. The first of those is Mike Bloomberg, who, like Burgum, could spend nearly unlimited amounts of money by getting out his checkbook. The second of those is Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA), who ran a single-issue campaign built around climate change.

Climate change is actually Burgum's issue, too, albeit approached from a Republican (but sane) vantage point. That is to say, Burgum agrees that climate change is real and is caused by humans. However, the Governor also comes from a state whose economy is built around fossil fuels. So, Burgum's angle is that, instead of cutting production of greenhouse gases, we need to focus on tools for capturing carbon emissions. This isn't conspiracy-theory-level lunacy, and there was actually a paper published in Current Biology yesterday that is already getting a lot of attention; it (tentatively) suggests that fungi might be a powerful tool for capturing carbon.

The upshot is that Burgum's pitch is intriguing. However, Bloomberg got nowhere and Inslee got nowhere, and there's no chance that Bloomslee (or Insberg) gets anywhere, either. That's especially true in today's Republican Party, where the dominant position isn't "What can we do about global warming without wrecking the fossil fuel industry?", it's "global warming is a sham." So, the Governor isn't going anywhere, not as a Republican in the year 2024. Oh, and he'll be 72 on Election Day 2028, so this is probably his only rodeo.

That's three Republicans who are in, then, or who will be within the next 24 hours or so. There's also one Republican who confirmed yesterday that he is out. That would be Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH). He's looked at the race, and sees the same thing we see: A large primary field works to the advantage of Donald Trump. The Governor doesn't want to facilitate that, so he's out. He's only 48, so if he aspires to be president, he can afford to bide his time and wait until the stars are better aligned. In fact, he could wait until the presidential election of 2048, and he'd still be several years younger than Joe Biden was on election to the presidency.

And finally, he's definitely not a Republican, but scholar and activist Cornel West announced yesterday, as a candidate for the People's Party nomination for president. This is not the original People's Party (a.k.a. the Populist Party), it's the new version, which was formed by Bernie Sanders supporters in 2017. Like another minor-party presidential candidate named West, namely Kanye, Cornel is outspoken, unpredictable, anti-authority and Black (although he's not an antisemite the way Kanye is). For these reasons, it is likely that the 2024 West will get a similar amount of coverage to the 2020 West—not a lot, but not zero, either. Still, this West has as much chance of becoming president as that West (who, by the way, is mounting another bid in 2024, but who should get zero coverage because of the whole antisemite thing).

Depending on how you slice it, there are between 10 and 14 "serious" Republican candidates for president this cycle. That said, to get to 14, you have to really bend over backwards, and include people like Cranston, RI, mayor Steve Laffey and Michigan businessman Perry Johnson. For our part, we're going to define "serious" as "has a reasonable chance to make the RNC debate stage." And by that definition, there are 10 candidates. See the asterisks in the tracking poll (below) for the 10. (Z)

DeSantis May Cede One of His Biggest Advantages over Trump...

Ron DeSantis wants everyone to know that he really, really hates undocumented immigrants. And while passing harsh anti-immigrant legislation helps on that front, it's not showy. So, the Governor has really embraced the stunt first pioneered by Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) and then-Arizona-governor Doug Ducey (R), namely rounding up a bunch of immigrants (who are generally asylum-seekers, and thus not actually undocumented), and delivering them to some blue city or state.

Everyone knows about the Texas-to-Florida-to-Martha's-Vineyard flight that DeSantis perpetrated, possibly in violation of state law, and by making a sweetheart deal with one of his friends to provide the airline service at something like ten times market rates. Now, it appears that the Governor has done it again, this time using the same friend/airline, and the same false pretenses, to dump a couple of planefuls of immigrants in... California.

Before we continue, let's note that the Governor's stunts are already costing Florida taxpayers gobs and gobs of money. There's the cost of the initial stunt, of course, whether it's paying an airline to transport people or severance pay for some "woke" teacher who has been fired. But on top of that, DeSantis' war against Disney, his anti-drag laws, his anti-trans laws, his book bans, etc. have triggered dozens of lawsuits that have to be defended against. The price tag for those suits was $17 million by the end of 2022, and is likely approaching $30 million by now.

DeSantis doesn't care one whit about wasting Floridians' money in order to advance his own political prospects. However, with these immigrant flights, he may have exposed himself to a very different sort of legal problem. Yesterday, Bexar County sheriff Javier Salazar (D) filed a criminal case against DeSantis, charging him with numerous crimes related. And hours later, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) said he was considering doing the same, once California AG Rob Bonta (D) finishes his investigation of the Florida-to-California flights.

As with his war against Disney, we wonder what was going through DeSantis' head when he decided to declare war against Newsom. It's true that the California Governor has poked the Florida Governor in the eye more than once. However, it is also true that Newsom, like Disney, has massive resources at his disposal when it comes to waging this particular battle. Did DeSantis really need to awaken yet another sleeping giant, when he's already got more then enough on his plate dealing with Donald Trump?

We do not know for certain whether DeSantis has committed criminal acts here. However, Salazar and Newsom both know something about the subject, and they certainly think so. On top of that, former federal prosecutor Michael Wildes, who now does immigration law, also thinks so. "If you take people and you give them the impression that they're going to get work, which is what was found, and they were just transporting them around the United States haphazardly, of course charges could be leveled," he said during an appearance on News Nation yesterday.

And politically, it probably doesn't matter much if DeSantis is convicted, or could potentially be convicted. What matters a lot more is whether or not he is charged. Recall that the heart and soul of DeSantis' pitch is "I can get the Trump agenda implemented, but without all the extracurricular drama." But if the Governor is triggering tens of millions of dollars in civil lawsuits, and is also facing one or more criminal lawsuits, then so much for "without all the extracurricular drama." If he's smart, DeSantis will stop these stupid, cruel flights right now, and will hope that Newsom doesn't come up with enough evidence to pursue the matter. That said, if he was being smart, DeSantis would also have stopped fighting with Disney long ago. And we know what happened there. (Z)

...And DeSantis Has Another Big Problem in Comparison to Trump

As long as we are discussing our low opinion of Ron DeSantis' presidential hopes, let's take a closer look at something we've noted numerous times, as recently as yesterday, namely that he is a phony. He doesn't believe in most of the stuff he pushes, and he may not believe in any of it. He's just an ambitious guy, egged on by an ambitious wife, who has molded himself into "the candidate Republican primary votes want," as he sees it. Casey's role model is Lady Macbeth.

This is a very difficult thing to pull off, because voters in general, and Trump voters in particular, are very good at sniffing out a fake. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been trying to mold himself into "the candidate voters want" for years, and where has it gotten him? The same is true, to a large extent, with Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio (R-FL), who have gotten even less far with it than Cruz has.

By contrast, Trump, because of his rather unusual psychological makeup, is actually able to carry off the "genuine" bit. Put more simply, when he says things, he really means it. It's bizarre that a guy born with a platinum spoon in his mouth is convinced that he's gotten an unfair shake in life, but Trump believes it, and so he can connect with voters who think they've gotten an unfair shake in life. It's weird that a guy who has utilized immigrant labor for decades thinks that immigrants are what is wrong with this country, but Trump believes it, so he can connect with voters who think immigrants are ruining the U.S. It's nonsensical that a man who rose to the very top of the American government thinks the government is against him, but Trump believes it, so he can connect with voters who hate the government.

Maybe it's because DeSantis is smarter than Trump, or is more mentally stable, or is less aggrieved. Maybe it's something else, we don't know. But in any case, the Governor just doesn't come off as genuine when he rails against the target du jour. And while that is partly manageable when you can remain ensconced in the governor's mansion, and can limit your TV and in-person appearances, and can speak only to friendly media, it becomes a lot more problematic once you have to hit the campaign trail.

A new piece in The Atlantic, headlined "Ron DeSantis's Joyless Ride," makes this same basic observation. The subhead is "The ultimate performative politician doesn't seem to enjoy the in-person performance of politics," and actually gets closer to the central point of the piece, which is that the Governor is a terrible retail politician as it is. And he particularly hates having to play a role, which is what is required of him if he wants to fashion himself as Trump v2.0.

There have certainly been presidential candidates in the past who could pretend to be something that they weren't, and could carry it off. Bill Clinton leaps to mind, as does Ronald Reagan. However, they were generational talents. Further, it was only parts of their personas that they were faking, not the whole thing. DeSantis isn't going to change course at this point, and he lacks the ability to sell the image he's peddling, and so we just don't see how he can avoid the fate of a Ted Cruz or a Rick Scott. (Z)

Anti-Drag Law Struck Down

That certainly didn't take long. On Saturday, we answered a question from E.W. in Skaneateles about the various anti-drag laws that have been passed in red states. And we wrote:

The anti-drag-show laws being promulgated by red states are already facing lawsuits on First Amendment grounds. The government can encumber speech, but there has to be a compelling public interest in doing so. The red staters have claimed that the drag shows somehow harm children, but making that claim doesn't make it so, and the evidence does not support that position. So, it is likely these laws will be struck down once the lawsuits work their way through the court system.

As we note regularly, we are not lawyers. However, we do know a bit about the First Amendment, and so we knew we were on firm ground here.

It did not take long for our assessment to be sustained. In fact, it only took a few hours. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Parker is a Donald Trump appointee, albeit one confirmed 98-0 by the Senate, and so not a hyperpartisan judge in the mold of a Reed O'Connor or a Neomi Rao. He was asked to rule on the constitutionality of Tennessee's anti-drag law, and on Friday evening he issued his ruling. It's 70 pages, but the key passage is this:

After considering the briefs and evidence presented at trial, the Court finds that—despite Tennessee's compelling interest in protecting the psychological and physical wellbeing of children—the Adult Entertainment Act ("AEA") is an UNCONSTITUTIONAL restriction on the freedom of speech and PERMANENTLY ENJOINS Defendant Steven Mulroy from enforcing the unconstitutional statute.

Parker issued his ruling at virtually the same moment we were writing that answer, although we did not know about his opinion until after the post went live, as the news coverage of the ruling did not happen until the Saturday news cycle. Put another way, we were hard at work on Friday night, but the reporters weren't. Slackers.

We presume this will be appealed, though that decision apparently hasn't been made yet. If and when that does come to pass, appeals of Parker's rulings (he's part of the District Court for the Western District of Tennessee) go to the Sixth Circuit, which covers Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. It's definitely right-leaning, but not far-right-activist in the way the Fifth Circuit is. And given how clear the violation of the First Amendment is here, we don't expect the defendants will have better luck at the appeals level, or at the Supreme Court, once the matter reaches that level.

But while the case for anti-drag laws is very, very weak, the politicians behind the laws care almost entirely about virtue signalling. For them, "I am fighting the good fight against these people" is far more important than "I am winning the fight against these people." So, Parker's ruling surely won't bring an end to this time-wasting, grandstanding nonsense. (Z)

Churchgoers Are Losing Their Grip on the Republican Party

The Washington Post doesn't have its own Nate so it uses a David (Byler) to handle stories involving statistics, like this one about the role of religion in the Republican Party. It was once the case that evangelicals were the dog and the Republican Party was the tail it wagged. That's apparently not true any more. Here is a chart showing church attendance for Republicans in 2008 and in 2022:

Church attendance for Republicans in 2008 and 2022

As you can see, in 2008, 43% of Republicans attended church every week and only 30% seldom or never did. By 2022, only 35% attended church every week and 42% seldom or never did. So now the "seldom or never" group is the largest chunk of the Republican base.

This change in the Republican electorate is what powered Donald Trump in 2016 and still does. A deeply religious party would never countenance a twice-divorced candidate who is a serial sinner and proud of it. On policy issues, it's clear that the "nevers" and "seldoms" are the key people supporting Trump. For example, here is the percentage of Trump voters who want to build a wall on the Mexican border, by religious practice.

Republican opinion on building a wall on the Mexican border by church attendance

There is an almost linear relationship here. The less often you go to church, the more you want to build a wall on the Mexican border. The evangelicals are clearly not running the show here. Trump is actually appealing to people who are not religious more than he is appealing to people who are. On issues like: "Does the economy favor the rich?" the "nevers" and "seldoms" agreed far more with the statement than the weekly churchgoers. To some extent, this explains why Trump is doing so well with Republicans, despite his manifest lack of interest in religion: Republicans also are not so interested in religion anymore.

On a few issues, the churchgoers pushed Trump to the right. The most notable is abortion. Before becoming a candidate, Trump was pro-choice. After becoming a candidate, he became anti-abortion. It is one of the few issues where churchgoers and evangelicals are having a big influence on Trump's positions, although it was enough to get the Jesus Republicans on board with The Donald, despite his obvious irreligiosity. The lesson for Republican politicians who want to be president, at least in 2024 and 2028, is clear: Through the evangelicals a bone or two, and that's all it takes. Truth is, Ronald Reagan used the same basic strategy 40 years ago.

That said, strict abortion bans are not popular outside the most zealous parts of the Republican Party, which is why the GOP did so badly in 2022. As non-churchgoers become an even larger fraction of the Republican base, the GOP is going to have to change and reject what evangelicals want more and more, or become politically obsolete. (V)

Talking about Abortion, Part IX: P.S.' Story

As we noted over the weekend, we got too many instructive letters about abortion to cull them down to 6-8 and call it a day. So, we're going to run some responses this week, and probably some next week. As this is likely the central issue of the 2024 campaign, as most of the political news is about Republican wannabe presidents who are never actually going to be president, we think it's an appropriate use of space. Well, of pixels.

Among the hundreds of messages we got were two or three accounts that are best run on their own. We're going with one of those today. This is from reader P.S.; as we realized over the course of this series, it is best to withhold the cities from accounts like this one:

This morning, I read through the comments from people who have personally dealt with abortion and then read the heading of the Freudenfreude article "Teach Your Children Well." I was hesitant about sharing my abortion story but the juxtaposition of the two compelled me to write.

When I was 21, I became pregnant—not a guy I was dating, just a one-night stand with a friend. I was occasionally sexually active, but had never used birth control for the stupidest of reasons. I attended Catholic schools for most of K-12. I was the oldest child and my parents never spoke with me about sex—never. The school did—one of the nuns, a particularly stern and scary one, lectured us, in our junior-year religion class, about sex and birth control. Years later I found my notebook from the class. I'd listed multiple options for birth control with comments indicating they were all sinful. Obviously, I had learned that sexual intercourse outside of marriage was wrong; and to my naive, teen-aged brain, birth control simply made the sin premeditated. Maybe I figured I could repent later. Shorty after going to college, I stopped going to church, primarily because the attitude about sex seemed anachronistic with my life experiences.

Although I was 21 when the pregnancy occurred, I was still naive, very shy and insecure, and totally unprepared to have a child with a man who didn't want this. I hemmed and hawed for about two weeks about whether to continue the pregnancy or not. This was just a few years after Roe and abortion was legal in my state. (In addition to lectures about sex, all the students in my high school also were "encouraged" to write to our legislators, in class, opposing this.)

In the end, I had a first-trimester abortion. The deciding factor was not my inability to care for a child, but the fact that I couldn't face my parents and tell them I was pregnant. My dad attended marches for life in Washington. My mother was extremely socially conscious and would have been mortified by a pregnant, unwed daughter. In hindsight, I probably judged them wrongly—they were loving and caring grandparents to my sister's two children, including one who identifies as nonbinary—but that's what I thought at the time. I later married a man who did not want children and having already terminated one pregnancy, that seemed fair.

I'm nearly 70 now and have had a good life. Sometimes I wish things had turned out differently and I had had children, but mostly I regret being stupid enough to have gotten pregnant. It's hard for me not to think of an embryo as a potential human life, one that I consciously ended. But I do not believe I killed a baby. Even more, I regret the lack of discussion about the meaning of sexual intercourse or the reality that young adults, and sometimes children, will have sex and need to know how to be responsible—and that it's OK to take action to prevent a pregnancy.

But my own feelings or regrets are irrelevant. I strongly believe women should have the right to control their own bodies and that these decisions should be left to women, possibly their partners and families, and their healthcare providers—but not to the government or other "well-meaning" advocates for their own different opinions. And after reading about the incompetent and confusing legislation that has been passed in many states and the resulting tragedies for women, it's hard for me not to believe that for many, the real issue is one of control or the desire to return to a time where "women knew their place." I also recognize that this is a complex issue and many others disagree that abortion should be an option. In that case, advocate, educate, but you'll never win anyone to your side if you simply legislate. And regardless of your beliefs, if you are a parent—pro-life or pro-choice—please teach your children well.

Thanks, P.S., and well put. More on this subject tomorrow. (Z) Tracking Poll, June 2023, Presidential Edition

As a reminder, we're doing two tracking polls now, one for the presidency and one for the Senate. Today, it's the presidential poll. Here's how readers have had the two presidential races thus far:

Democratic Candidate Jan. Rank Feb. Rank May Rank
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) 1 1 1
Vice President Kamala Harris 4 4 2
President Joe Biden 3 3 3
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg 2 2 4
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) 5 5 5
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (DFL-MN) 7 7 6
Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) 6 6 7
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) 9 N/R 8
Lawyer and activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. 8 8 9
Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC) N/R 9 10
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) 10 N/R N/R
Gov. Wes Moore (D-MD) 8 8 N/R
Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) N/R 10 N/R
Author and speaker Marianne Williamson N/R N/R N/R

Republican Candidate Jan. Rank Feb. Rank May Rank
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) 1 2 1
Former president Donald Trump 2 1 2
Former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) 8 10 3
Former Fox entertainer Tucker Carlson 6 6 4
Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH) N/R 3 5
Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) 3 4 6
Former vice president Mike Pence 5 8 7
Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley N/R 7 8
Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo 4 5 9
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) N/R N/R 10
Former Maryland governor Larry Hogan 7 9 N/R
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) 9 N/R N/R
Former representative Liz Cheney 10 N/R N/R
Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy N/R N/R N/R
Radio entertainer Larry Elder N/R N/R N/R

In case you're wondering, there are some readers who suspect Biden won't run in 2024, either due to having bowed out or having died. So, they are not ranking him at all. In a situation where Gavin Newsom appears on every ballot, but Biden only appears on 95% of ballots, it's enough to push Newsom into the #1 slot.

For now, we're going to keep all of the candidates who might plausibly be considered. However, in the actual voting form, we'll put an asterisk next to declared candidates. And sometime soon, we'll probably drop the non-candidates from the poll.

Also, we build the ballot each month in the same manner that is used for actual elections, namely a random drawing. Is it an omen that on the day he made his presidential bid official, Mike Pence ended up in the last slot on the ballot?

Moving along, recall that we added a new question last month, namely "Which party's candidate will win the White House in November 2024?" That one came out rather lopsided; 96.6% for the Democrats and 3.3% for the Republicans, with "Libertarians" and "Other Third Party" each getting one vote (out of well over 2,000 cast). Good to have you as readers, Gary Johnson and Cornel West! We'll see how that ebbs or flows over the next year and a half.

We also asked "If Joe Biden were to switch VPs, who would be the shrewdest alternative to Kamala Harris?" Here are the Top 10 finishers:

  1. Gavin Newsom
  2. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
  3. Former mayor of Atlanta Keisha Lance Bottoms
  4. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (DFL-MN)
  5. Former adviser Susan Rice
  6. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
  7. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg
  8. Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams
  9. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM)
  10. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI)

We also allowed write-in would-be VPs, and got some very interesting answers. Far and away the most popular was Michelle Obama, but she would never go for it, which is we did not include her in the first place. Among the other interesting answers were Hillary Clinton, CBS News journalist Gayle King, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Liz Cheney, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Keanu Reeves and Batman. Unfortunately, unresolved questions about the exact nature of the Dark Knight's relationship with Robin probably make him impractical from a political standpoint, though we do understand Bruce Wayne is interested in the job.

There was also a reader who had the following proposal: "Donald 'Skip' Trump of Falls Church, VA. Lower-informed Republican voters would either love that Donald Trump was on the ballot twice (guaranteed to win), or they would stay home because he sold out to "Sleepy Joe" just to get back to D.C." There was also a reader who proposed Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), and who explained the pick "has nothing to do with her qualities as a potential VP; I just think it would be a shrewd way to avoid splitting the Arizona U.S. Senate vote."

The question of the month for this month will be: "Who was the most authentic president in U.S. history?" We write about phony politicians above, so we thought we might as well poll the opposite. Which president's public persona was closest to who they really were?

Cast your ballots here! (Z)

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